11 May 2010 | Neil Oelofse
South Africa’s Western Cape province intends to pass an anti-corruption law that will prohibit civil servants from procuring government business.
The Business Interests of Employees Bill will also force government employees to disclose their business interests.
Helen Zille, Western Cape premier and leader of the national opposition Democratic Alliance, said state employees with an interest in companies that tendered for government contracts were in clear conflict of interest.
The Auditor-General found that between April 2005 and January 2007, R540 million (US$ 70.8 million) changed hands in business deals between provincial governments and businesses owned or partowned by state employees.
“President Jacob Zuma acknowledged the problem in the 2009 and 2010 State of the Nation addresses, but nothing has been done. In May 2009 we began studying the options to stop this practice in the provincial administration,” Zille said.
The new Bill states that provincial government employees and their families will be prohibited from holding more than 5 per cent of shares, stock, membership or other interests in any entity that does business with the government.
“We believe this Bill is long overdue in the Western Cape and nationally. It will go some way to curb the corruption and cronyism that is spreading like a cancer in the public service,” Zille said. Once promulgated, the law will open the market to small companies that have been denied tender opportunities